Tag Archives: Thameslink

Southern Rail reintroduces emergency timetable

From The Argus

Buses are set to replace trains in parts of the county as Southern Railway announced the implementation of a new emergency timetable.

Southern announced that from Tuesday until further notice, services between Lewes and Seaford are all cancelled.

Bus services will operate between Seaford, Bishopstone, Newhaven Harbour, Newhaven Town, Southease and Lewes.

It is not the first time passengers on the Seaford branch line has had its services axed. Around 80 per cent of trains on the route were axed in July.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Southern will strike for three days from Tuesday in protest at changes to the role of conductors.

The drivers’ union Aslef is due to start an overtime ban on Southern from Tuesday ahead of strikes later in the month and in the new year in a row over driver-only trains.

Southern is taking legal action to try to stop the strikes, but if the action goes ahead, services will be crippled.

Southern warned passengers to expect “severe and significant” disruption to Southern and Gatwick Express services every day from Tuesday.

Southern is advising that Aslef’s continuous drivers’ overtime ban will severely affect services every day.

On RMT strike days this will result in only around 50% of the full timetable being able to operate. If the Aslef strikes go ahead, no Southern services will operate, with only Thameslink services to Three Bridges and Brighton and a limited service on Gatwick Express.

Southern director Alex Foulds said: “Regrettably, because of this wholly unnecessary and unjustified industrial action, there will be severe and significant disruption on our network from Tuesday and customers are advised that stations will be incredibly busy.

“If passengers can make alternative travel arrangements they should, and if they don’t have to travel they shouldn’t. If the drivers’ strikes go ahead, there will be no services on Southern and customers should not attempt to travel.

“We’re doing everything we can to stop the drivers’ strike and that’s why we are seeking an injunction in the High Court.

“This industrial action is a clearly co-ordinated and cynical manoeuvre by the unions to bring yet further travel misery to passengers as well as having a detrimental impact on the regional economy when it least needs it.

“If the unions are listening to passengers then they will call off all industrial action now and give hardworking commuters and their families their lives back.”

Thameslink is not directly affected by the strike action, although its services are expected to be extremely busy.

Other operators’ services are not affected, but are likely to be busier.

Southern Railway conductors announce plans for a five day strike

From The Argus

Conductors on Southern Railway will walk out on strike for five days in a row over the future of their roles.

Members of the RMT Union will strike from 0001 on Monday August 8th to 2359 on Friday August 12th.

It follows proposals from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the company which owns Southern, to change the role of the conductor which will remove the responsibility of closing the doors of the train.

The doors would instead be closed by the train’s driver using the CCTV system fitted to the outside of the train.

Southern is planning to implement changes to the role of conductors on August 21.

Services have suffered delays and cancellations for several weeks because of the conductors’ dispute and staff shortages blamed on high levels of sickness.

On July 11 the rail company cut 341 journeys a day from its timetable to enable it to operate a “robust” service.

The Argus revealed earlier this month that GTR is not considered to be in breach of its franchise agreement according to the Department for Transport.

The RMT said it had offered a three-month pause to industrial action if the company agreed to suspend its proposals for driver-operated doors and allow talks to take place.

“That request has been kicked back in our faces,” said a union spokesman.

“The union wrote to new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling asking for direct talks after he said it was a priority to sort out the chaos on Southern. That letter has been ignored.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This action has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of Govia Thameslink and the Government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern.

“Our fight is with the company and the Government who have dragged this franchise into total meltdown. We share the anger and frustration of passengers and we cannot sit back while jobs and safety are compromised on these dangerously overcrowded trains.

“It is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are looking to bully through the extension of DOO and the attack on the guards set for 21st August. They should wake up and get round the table now as an urgent priority.”

Govia Thameslink Railway chief operating officer Dyan Crowther said: “It is unacceptable that passengers are being made to suffer five days of disruption all because the RMT is refusing to accept necessary change.

“We are offering all our onboard staff a job, as valued members of our future operation, with no reduction in salary.

“We value the work of our staff, who are trying their best to deliver service levels that passengers expect.

“The sooner we can introduce the essential modernisation that our railways desperately need, the sooner we can stop the RMT from holding passengers to ransom.

“Contrary to the RMT’s accusation, we have always been open to talks and remain so.

“Only this week we spoke with the General Secretary Mick Cash about further talks and he has been unwilling to enter into discussion.”